In 2016, Nagraj Manujle created a stir with his national award-winning film ‘Sairat’. Akash Thosar and Rinku Rajguru had reportedly bagged in a bonus cheque of Rs 50 lakh after the success of their debut film. The film was a well-researched, constructed piece of artwork, which various sociologists used as an example in their papers, which were based on caste-discrimination. ‘Sairat’ was made to create an impact on the society, to act as a mirror and tell the society that it isn’t the ‘fairest of them all’.
When ‘Dhadak’ happened, at the time of the announcement of the project itself, Karan Johar did excellent publicity for the Marathi film. ‘Dhadak’ had only made more non-Marathi audience watch ‘Sairat’ on Netflix. By the time the release date of ‘Dhadak’ had arrived, we all knew what the film was going to be; what viewers really wanted to see was if Janhvi Kapoor, daughter of India’s first lady superstar, Sridevi, can enact the same kind of charm like her mother. Because, star kid, Ishaan Khatter, brother of Shahid Kapoor, had already made his debut earlier that year. It was time for Janhvi to prove herself.
It was difficult to say whether she could live up to the legacy of her mother, thanks to Karan Johar’s team in making her look like a prim and proper woman, even when the screen did not demand such glossiness.
In ‘Sairat’ when circumstances forced Archie to leave her well-built home in Bittergaon and live in a slum at Hyderabad, the audience could practically smell the stinking toilet from her expressions. When Archie bought a colourful poster instead of groceries, the audience understood her part, nevertheless disagreed with her decision. Nagraj Manjule bravely made his audience feel uncomfortable by depicting reality.
Director Shashank Khaitan probably feared that the audience may just leave the hall, hence made Parthvi and Madhu live in a comfortable 1BHK room in Kolkata, where although, when Parthavi walked on the busy streets of Kolkata, her hair remained intact like one of those models from shampoo, hair conditioner ad.
In the end, in Manjule’s film, honour killing happens, and a helpless toddler was seen walking out of the doors. In ‘Dhadak’, Parthvi finds her husband and infant’s carcass dropped in front of her. You fail to feel the pain for Parthvi like you feel for the toddler. In Parthvi’s case, one can think of a possible future for a grown-up girl, who may go to the court to get justice, but when the viewer sees the toddler helplessly walking around, they are forced to question the contemporary times. ‘Dhadak’ failed to leave an impact like ‘Sairat’.
Dhadak is available on Amazon Prime Videos
Sairat is available on Netflix.